Composite Materials, Types & Their Applications

One of biggest light weight and Composite Materials in Aerospace Industry around the Globe with better resilience , By Arsalan

By Arsalan Ahmad

A composite is combining two and/or more materials/components, physically. So, this employs for getting blend of structural properties. Which are absent in an individual component. Hence, the Composite Materials posses greater strength and stiffness than single counter parts.

Research on Composites in world is happening on a great stake. Like, Fiber-reinforced composites are getting more in use materials same as metals and their alloys.

Basically, these are designed for offering following attributes:

  1. Low Mass,
  2. Stiffness, and Strength
  3. Less Coefficient of Expansion
  4. Resistance to Fatigue
  5. Ease in Making Complex Shapes
  6. Simple Repair of Damage Structures
  7. Resistance to Corrosion

Fundamentally, different types of composites are available in designs. The two major categories involves in various applications are as:

  • Fiber-Reinforcing Composites
  • Particle-Reinforcing Composites

Main Phases in Composites Includes:

Fiber and particle reinforcing composites usually consist of a phase, is more or less continuous. Additionally, this continuous phase refers as matrix. Likewise, the material which distributes via matrix names as dispersed particles. Hence, every dispersed component calls as reinforcement. Basically, the dispersed phase adds strength and stiffness. Moreover, some filler also adds for various reasons, such as to dense the matrix at a low cost and without altering the attributes in composite . Similarly, a phase employs as bonding between layers or phases, terms as interface.

1.2 Classification of Composites

  1. On the Basis of Matrix:

As per above discussion , Composites classifies into three categories in terms of type of matrix;

Metal Matrix Composites (MMC)

For Instance, Metal Matrix Composites consists metallic matrix such as Magnesium, Aluminium, Titanium and Copper. Sometimes , these are reinforced by ceramic (oxides, carbides) or metallic (lead, tungsten, molybdenum) phase.

Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)

Another Class is Ceramic Matrix Composites consists of a matrix of ceramic and reinforced through other ceramic materials.

Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC)

Finally, Polymer Matrix Composites involves a matrix from thermoset . So, examples consists of Unsaturated polyester (UP), Epoxy) or thermoplastic (PVC, Nylon, Polystyrene) and embedded glass. Some times, Industry uses Carbon, steel or Kevlar fibers (dispersed phase) per applications .

2. On the basis of Reinforcement

Particulate Composites

Basically, Particulate Composites contains a matrix reinforced by dispersed particle in a so called particles.

Fibrous Composites

Moreover, the reinforcement is in the form of continuous and discontinuous fibers.

Laminate Composites

At last, If fibre-embedded composite consists of different layers in the different orientations of fibre, it is named a multilayer composites.

There is also an edge in a number of the characteristics of MMCs such as the possibility of least moisture absorption, no inflammability, less electrical and thermal conductance and shielding to many radiations. MMCs have existed for the past 30 years and a good range of MMCs are studied.

2. Current Applications:

Current Composites apply in Space Shuttle, electronic metallic substrates, motor and sport cycles, airlines, automotive, clubs of the gulf and number of other applications. MMCs have benefits of stiffness at elevated temperature, good abrasion and creep resistance properties. But, MMCs have more edge over Polymer Matrix Composites and in terms of required properties. Polymer matrix composites employs more in designs and as comparison to MMCs.

3. Future Developments:

The Al-alloys have low density and less stiffness during aerospace designs. Therefore, in recent developments reinforcing any good metal matrix composites are in High demand. Further, fabrication processing of advanced aerospace designs is under serious considerations. Mostly preferred systems are Aluminum and titanium alloys.


Arsalan Ahmad

Arsalan Ahmad is a Research Engineer working on 2-D Materials, graduated from the Institute of Advanced Materials, Bahaudin Zakariya University Multan, Pakistan. LinkedIn:

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